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Kendall, County Family Law Divorce AttorneyFor many people, going through a divorce is a bittersweet experience. However, going through a divorce is also an experience that requires a good deal of level-headed decision-making, which does not always go hand-in-hand with times of stress. While there are many ways to get a divorce, one of the biggest decisions you will have to make is whether or not you hire a lawyer to assist you with your divorce process. Some people are attracted to the extremely low price tag of a “do-it-yourself” or “DIY” divorce, as the only fees you pay are filing fees and court costs. However, getting a divorce is a very complex process and the decisions you make can end up affecting nearly every part of your life.

Pertinent Reasons to Work With a Divorce Attorney

Technically, you are not required to have a lawyer when you file for divorce. It is completely legal for you to fill the forms out yourselves, file them, and appear before the judge in the final prove-up just the two of you. However, doing so could result in one of the biggest mistakes of your life. Hiring an attorney when you get a divorce is a smart move in protecting your rights and ensuring the process is done correctly. Here are a few other benefits to having the support of an attorney during your divorce:

  • They are intimately familiar with family law and can help you protect your rights during the divorce process.


attorney, divorce attorney, DuPage County family lawyerWhen you and your spouse have decided that your marriage is over and that divorce is the best option, you may be tempted to handle the situation on your own. You are both reasonably intelligent people and the process is pretty straightforward, right?  While you and your spouse may be intelligent, such an assumption is flawed for several reasons. First, the laws surrounding divorce and related concerns are not always as clear as they may seem, and, more importantly, it is impossible to predict all of the potential obstacles and roadblocks that may arise before the divorce is finalized.

By hiring a divorce attorney, even it is only to review your pre-negotiated agreement, you can experience a number of possible benefits. Consider:

  • Ongoing training: Most family law attorneys take advantage of continuing education programs and seminars to keep abreast of the latest updates to and interpretations of the law. For example, major changes to divorce and matrimonial law were passed by the Illinois legislature this year, but a quick Google search cannot explain to you how courts will apply the new laws;
  • Objectivity: You and your spouse are in the process of ending a very intense, very personal relationship. No matter who you are, that is going to present challenges along the way. A divorce lawyer, however, is capable of stepping back and seeing the big picture without emotional entanglements. He or she can help you identify potential problems that may have been obscured by emotional influences;
  • Experience: A divorce attorney will tell you that every situation is unique, and, while that may be true, your divorce may have similarities to one or more that he or she has handled in the past. Your lawyer can potentially use this to your advantage by suggesting creative solutions and compromises that you may never have realized were possible;
  • Potential cost savings: One of the most commonly-cited reasons for not hiring a divorce attorney is the cost. Yes, a divorce lawyer costs money. In the long run, however, the legal counsel he or she provides may lead to realized savings, as making a mistake during your divorce, especially in property division or spousal maintenance considerations, could end up costing you thousands of dollars.

For more information on how hiring a divorce lawyer can be beneficial to your situation, contact an experienced DuPage family law attorney. At the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., we are committed to helping divorcing couples reach an agreeable resolution quickly, and without unnecessary stress and anxiety. Call 630-409-8184 to schedule a consultation today.


collaborative divorce, illinois divorce, dupage county family law attorneyThe term “collaborative divorce” has been popping up more often in recent years, with many more lawyers claiming collaborative divorce as one of their practice areas. What is collaborative divorce? It can mean several different things, but usually it means the two sides work together to find a settlement instead of having a contested divorce and hurling accusations at each other.

How Does Collaborative Divorce Work?

Most of the time a collaborative divorce starts before any paperwork is ever filed with the court. Instead, the lawyer from one side sends a friendly letter explaining that his or her client has chosen to pursue a collaborative divorce where the sides work together to settle all the issues.


divorce risk, Illinois divorce lawyer, DuPage County family law attorney, Conventional wisdom dictates that there is a strict correlation between educational attainment and divorce. According to a 2013 report released in the Monthly Labor Review, a publication of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), both men and women with a college education tend to marry later than their non-college-educated counterparts. Marrying later in life could be one reason that people with college degrees are also less likely to divorce than those without any higher education. The average age among those who had not completed high school to be married was 22.8, while the average age among those with a college degree was 24.9. The BLS found that approximately 50 percent of marriages end in divorce among those who did not complete high school. Comparatively, roughly 30 percent of marriages among those with a college degree end in divorce.

It used to be that marriages in which the woman was better educated than the man were more likely to end in divorce. This could have been due to social stigmas associated with women outperforming their husbands, but according to a 2014 study this is changing. The report, published in the American Sociological Review, “suggests that not only are men marrying women with higher education levels than them in greater numbers,” but also that these marriages have a comparable divorce rate to marriages in which both partners have the same education or in which the men have more higher education.

Divorce among marriages in which women were more educated than men hit a peak in the 1950s and 1970s. This association began to decline in the 1980s as society and women’s roles in the workforce continued to change, but this decade is the first in which the association was entirely comparable to the general divorce rate. One of the study's authors says that more research needs to be done into the correlation between women out-earning their husbands. While American women are statistically earning more degrees than men, “they are still making less money from those degrees.” Because of this, it is difficult to study the effect of earning as a result of higher education on marriages.


spousal maintenanceAlimony, or spousal maintenance, as it is called in Illinois, is a court-mandated support payment paid from one spouse to the other in a divorce. According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAMA), there are three types of maintenance that may be ordered by the court for one spouse to pay after a divorce. The first is temporary, which is paid until the divorce is finalized. Rehabilitative maintenance is awarded in the event that the supported spouse is capable for finding work or another source of income, until he or she is able to do so. Reviewable maintenance is awarded to the supported spouse and reviewed after a court-mandated period of time to determine if the maintenance is still necessary to be paid the supported spouse.

According to the AAMA, there are several factors that the court uses to determine whether or not a divorcing party qualifies for maintenance. The length of the marriage is one of the top deciding factors, as is the disparity in the earnings of the divorcing parties. Health, age, and social factors (including the ability of either party to secure income after the divorce) are also taken into consideration. To determine whether or not you will likely have to pay or be awarded spousal maintenance after a divorce, it is imperative to consult with a family law attorney.

While it may seem a good thing, according to Time, there are several things wrong with the system of spousal maintenance, regardless of what state the divorce is taking place. According to Time, maintenance is one of the most contentious issues in a divorce, and nearly 80 percent “of divorce cases involve a request for modification of alimony.”


cheating, divorce, divorce attorney, divorce trends, DuPage County divorce attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois family law attorney, marriage, women cheat, infidelity, reasons for cheatingA new study reported by The Huffington Post has discovered that women who cheat on their husbands are not necessarily dissatisfied with their emotional relationships. The study, conducted using data from the spousal cheating site, observed 100 women between the ages of 35 and 45. The collected data revealed that cheating women often had little desire to end their marriages. What they were looking for, however, was sex and renewed passion.

Eric Anderson, a British professor and chief science officer at, noted how sexual monotony is likely the reason that cheating women seek sexual satisfaction outside of their marriage. Emotions had less to do with it. “This is because we get used to and bored of the same body,” noted Anderson.


collaborative divorce, mediation, alternative dispute resolution, divorce, Illinois divorce lawyerCan the words “good” and “divorce” inhabit the same sentence? A nasty divorce proceeding can harm children; within that process, they suffer decline in math and social ability, returning to normal skill level only when divorce is final. So, divorce without drama, also known as collaborative divorce, can minimize the negative effect, not to mention the cost savings of avoiding courtroom interaction.

As retired Judge Michele Lowrance presents in her book, “The Good Karma Divorce”, the process is to separate from bargaining from a hard position and to move to interest-based negotiation with a “win-win” outcome. After all, this type of diligence follows logically from the path most take today: 80% of couples now live together before marriage, and 80% have reached the 10-year milestone in wedlock. So, if parting is decided upon, a “conscious uncoupling” using creative problem-solving minimizes confrontation and maximizes a positive feeling for both parents and their children.

Collaboration between spouses avoids the use of children as messengers between parents, and encourages them to love both, regardless of where they may go in life.Per the Collaborative Law Institute, costs average half that of courtroom litigation .The need to work around attorney schedules is totally avoided, and solutions are customized; any strict-guideline judicial decision-making is rendered moot.


child custody, divorce, parenting time, visitation, paternity, evaluator, guardian ad litemIf you are engaged in a divorce case where child custody is being determined, you may have an evaluator appointed for the case. These individuals tend to be appointed in cases where parenting time, paternity, guardianship, or child custody are the primary issues. The court will use evaluators in these scenarios to assist with a final decision.

How you communicate with the evaluator can have an impact on your case, which is why it’s important to be aware of your interaction with this individual. You can be more informed by working with your divorce attorney in advance to understand the purposes of an evaluator appointment and how these meetings typically unfold. Your personal attorney is not involved in the evaluation process, but he or she can present you with important information about preparing for your own meetings with this individual. By knowing what evaluators look for and how they arrive at decision, you will feel more confident about your interaction and be able to work towards your family goals in an effective manner. You may be asked to provide references to an evaluator, for example. Working with your attorney beforehand can help you pinpoint references that could aid in your case so that you have your ducks in a row if the evaluator asks. Being organized and prepared can go a long way towards increasing your confidence and ensuring that your interaction goes smoothly. You should always think carefully before sending emails or making phone calls to an evaluator. Speaking with your attorney about the best way to work with such a professional is a good approach. If you are entering a divorce case or discussing modified parenting time, you need an attorney who can help prepare you for working with an evaluator. Contact an Illinois family law attorney today to learn more.

divorce stigma, life after divorce, single, Illinois divorce lawyer, Aurora family law attorneyFeeling emotions that run the gamut from relieved to ashamed is perfectly normal in divorce, especially since research shows that divorce stigma is still alive and well in the 21st century. Even though prenuptial agreements and fault-free divorce are more common, there’s still a social and individual stigma about getting a divorce.

According to a new survey taken by 1,000 divorced individuals, shame and sadness are two of the most common emotions after marriage dissolution. Nearly half of the surveyed individuals felt that the stigma of divorce affected them, and women were more likely than men to feel shame post-divorce.

Nearly a third of women admitted trying to push off the breakup as long as possible because of their own individual belief that marriage should last forever. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, however, because respondents also shared that they felt their life was back on track after a few years. Like any major life change, divorce can take some time to get used to, especially if you were deeply entrenched in the routines and habits of your marriage.


Posted on in Chicago divorce attorney

gray divorce, baby boomers, lawyer, attorney, marriage, Illinois, divorceHas divorce become another rite of passage for older Americans in the baby boomer generation? New research suggests that Americans over the age of 50 are twice as likely to get divorced as people of that age were two decades ago.

Older individuals might have their own unique challenges in the divorce process: ending a marriage after many years of routines and grown children can be difficult. Family get-togethers with grandchildren might feel uncomfortable or a spouse might have to adjust to managing household finances that they have never done before. For some older people, being lonely is a common feeling reported by gray divorcees.

One of the most common challenges for those considering divorce in the baby boomer generation is the concept of drifting apart. After several decades together, couples might be headed in different directions. As older children leave the house to pursue education or careers, this gap might be more pronounced, leading couples to go their separate ways.


social security benefits, division of property, divorce, Oswego Marital Property Division Attorney, retirement benefits, impact of divorceAccording to economist Marcus Dillender at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, the impact of divorce on your Social Security is worth considering when planning to end your marriage. And if your marriage lasted at least ten years, spousal benefits through Social Security may be available.

If your marriage is nearing the 10-year anniversary, waiting a few months to get a divorce could lead to higher Social Security payments pending your spouse has higher earnings records than you do. However, receiving Social Security benefits after a divorce can be a confusing process, especially since the Social Security Administration has several factors they consider before awarding payments to an ex-spouse. These factors include:

  • The marriage must have lasted 10 years or longer;
  • The ex-spouse is currently unmarried;
  • The ex-spouse is at least 62 years old;
  • The applicant is entitled to Social Security disability or retirement benefits;
  • The benefit that the ex-spouse is eligible to receive, as a result of his or her own work, is lower than the benefit he or she would get based on the former spouse.
Additionally, if an individual has not yet applied for retirement benefits, and he or she qualifies for them, the ex-spouse may receive benefits on that same record if the divorce has been final for at least two years. If the former spouse decides to remarry, he or she cannot collect benefits unless that remarriage is terminated through death, annulment or divorce.

The influence on Social Security benefits is only one factor that should be evaluated when you are considering divorce. Consulting with a divorce attorney for planning purposes can be a valuable use of your time so that you are more prepared with what to expect. If you are contemplating divorce and have questions about Social Security or other issues, contact an Illinois family lawyer today.

Valentine's Day Divorce IMAGE“Roses are red, violets are blue… I made a mistake in marrying you!” The Huffington Post reports that despite the fact that February is usually hailed as the most romantic month, a time for lovers to present roses and cards and sweet nothings, there are more divorces in February than any other month. “Perhaps this is because seeing other couples express their Valentines’ affection serves as a wake up call that our hearts are no longer in it,” the Huffington Post suggests. It could also be the cold weather and the withdraw of holiday warmth” that leaves us frigid in January and ready to act by the following month.

With more than half of all marriages in America ending in divorce, it seems a common and easy occurrence. Yet according to the Huffington Post, “if you think buying flowers and chocolates is expensive, try getting divorced. The process gets longer and more expensive every year.” Because of this, the importance of having a family law attorney on your side cannot be overstated. Hiring the right attorney can help you to mitigate costs and unnecessary delays. Having an attorney who works for you can save you heartache, time, and cold hard cash., according to CNN Money, reports seeing a 40 percent increase in the number of people “seeking information and advice about divorce in the period right after Valentine’s Day.” CNN Money also reports that the number of divorce filings during February is 18 percent higher than in the average month. But “February has factors other than the holiday that could lead to an increase in divorces`,” reports CNN Money, among them the fact that January is the busiest month for bankruptcies. Couples could realize the financial problems that divide them, for example.


 relationship with parents IMAGEIf you had a bad relationship with your parents as a teenager, chances are you could be headed for (or already in) a bad romantic relationship. According to a University of Alberta study headed by associate professor Matt Johnson, there is “a direct link between participants’ relationship with their parents and the quality of their current love lives,” reports the Huffington Post. The study found that participants who had positive parent-teen relationships were more likely to have “higher quality intimate relationships as adults. Teenagers who experienced rocky relationships with their parents had more romantic problems later in life,” according to the Huffington Post.

This is not to say that parents are solely responsible for their children’s bad romantic lives, of course. Yet Johnson told the Huffington Post that “people tend to compartmentalize their relationships,” meaning that they usually fail to see how one affects the other. “Understanding your contribution to the relationship with your parents would be important to recognizing any tendency to replicate behavior—positive or negative—in an intimate relationship,” Johnson told the Huffington Post.

It is not just a personal relationship with one’s parents that affects the likelihood of a bad relationship, either. A Cambridge University Press study reported upon by The Daily Beast states that “if your parents were divorced you’re at least 40 percent more likely to get divorced than if they weren’t. If your parents married others after divorcing, you are 91 percent more likely to get divorced.” Divorce Magazine publisher Dan Couvrette told The Daily Beast that this could be because “witnessing our parents’ divorces reinforces our ambivalence about commitment in a ‘disposable society.’”


Mistakes Men Making During DivorceStereotypically, it is the woman in a divorce that ends up with the short end of the stick. For years, common property distribution laws unintentionally favored men, who were more likely to have been the primary earner in a marriage. Illinois, along with most other states in the U.S., is now an equitable distribution state, meaning that marital property is split evenly between the couple, no matter whose name is on the official title. This is just one example of how the tables have turned. According to the Chicago Tribune, men are more likely these days to make serious blunders in their divorces that end up having devastating consequences.

One of the most serious blunders a man makes during divorce is to present sloppy financial records. “You might have to pay a little more on the front end in attorney fees,” reports the Tribune, “but at the end of the day, not being attentive to these financial records can be one of the costliest mistakes” a man can make. Another serious mistake men make is to move out of the house before the divorce proceedings are initiated. If there are children involved, maintaining that daily contact with the kids will help your custody arguments down the road. Withholding compromising information is yet another mistake men are prone to make—“your lawyer needs to know anything and everything your wife might say about you to hurt you or your case,” reports the Tribune.

Men, however, still seem to fare better after the divorce is finalized than women. According to an Australian study and as reported by Jezebel, “men’s incomes go up an average of 20 percent in the four years following divorce, while women go down 2 percent.” This could have to do with child raising responsibilities—it has nothing to do with emotional response. Women, in fact, are said to fare better emotionally following divorce than men. Nearly 50 percent of divorced men reported feeling lonely a year after the divorce was finalized, compared to less than 40 percent of women.


If you are facing divorce, it could be one of the most difficult battles in your life. Marital dissolution is more than just the end of a relationship—it’s the end of a partnership, both emotionally AND financially. Knowing what to expect going into it is invaluable for how smooth of a process it’s going to be. Whether your divorce is contested or not, there are some simple considerations to make beforehand, according to the Huffington Post. Consulting with a qualified family law attorney is, of course, invaluable, and should not be replaced with self-evaluation. Do-it-yourself divorces are never simple and often end up costing people more money in the long run than traditional legal fees. According to the Huffington Post, things to consider before divorce include financial concerns, issues of both child and spousal support, visitation and custody requirements, and what documentation will be necessary. divorce costs IMAGE

The first is to be mindful of what the divorce will cost you. Regardless whether your divorce is high-asset or not, it could get costly. At the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams we work hard to keep your costs low and provide cost-effective solutions for any divorce proceeding. We will discuss with you all the possible facets of your case so that you can financially remain in control. If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse can keep it civil, undergoing an uncontested divorce will likely save you big.

If you are going to be providing either child support or spousal support, you need to factor it into your costs of divorce immediately. Do not wait until the proceeding is halfway through to realize that you haven’t yet laid parameters for what type of support you’ll be expected to pay. The same goes go custody and visitation arrangements. If you are going through a particularly nasty separation, there’s a good chance the custody hearing will be the first time you see your spouse during the proceeding. In Illinois, you must complete a mediation hearing before a custody battle.

The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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